AMA Highlights Nov23

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AMA Highlights

ama logoThe American Music Awards took place live from the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles last night, with an underwhelming list of award moments and an impressive slate of live performances. Not that the awards themselves were undeserved – quite the opposite, in most cases – but it was another trio of awards for Taylor Swift (Song of the Year for “Blank Space,” Favorite Pop/Rock Album for 1989, and Favorite Artist – Adult Contemporary (ouch)), as well as another nod to Ed Sheeran (Favore Male Pop/Rock Artist) and Carrie Underwood  (Favorite Female Artist – Country) plus the crowning of One Direction as the Artist of the Year. Everyone else was equally predictable in their respective categories – and the presenters were weirdly monotone, many looking like they didn’t even want to be there – but the live performances made up for the tepidity of the awards themselves.

The most notable of the set were Coldplay, who performed their buoyant single “Adventure of a Lifetime,” from their upcoming new album A Head Full of Dreams (in outlets Dec. 4.)


The Brit band turned the stage into a confetti-strewn, candy-coloured celebration, with singer Chris Martin’s trademark spins, a kaleidoscopic stage background, and the surprise appearance of a quartet of dancing gorillas (no, really.) It was their first AMAs performance in 7 years, and well done.

Other standouts included The Weeknd, who set a… paperclip? garden archway?… on fire, and pulled out his best high notes for a striking live performance of his track “The Hills”:

The Weeknd

Gwen Stefani, continuing her ageless assault on pop music with a punk-glam performance of her latest single, “Used to Love You”; and best of all for sci-fi fans, the a capella group Pentatonix took on a vocal rendition of the Star Wars theme, joined halfway through by a full symphony orchestra and lots of awesome Star Wars film footage.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  (L-R) Singers Avi Kaplan, Kirstin Maldonado, Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi and Kevin Olusola of musical group Pentatonix perform onstage during day 1 of the 2015 American Music Awards rehearsals at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on November 19, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/AMA2015/Getty Images for dcp) *** Local Caption *** Kevin Olusola; Mitch Grassi; Scott Hoying; Kirstin Maldonado; Avi Kaplan                                                                                             Pentatonix at AMAs rehearsal

Even Nick Jonas, he of the square jaw and boy-band past, tore through three of his singles in a short set that evoked more “beginning of tour performance in a small, rockin’ venue” than awards show. And our fallen compatriots in Paris were honored in a powerful way with a short speech from Jared Leto and a subdued and beautifully sad performance of Edith Piaf’s “Hymne à l’amour” by Canadian legend Celine Dion.

For a full list of the winners, visit the American Music Awards official site.